Notes from the Waxhaws

Happiness is

with 2 comments

…an empty septic tank. There’s an old adage in these parts that, “Birds gotta fly…fish gotta swim…toilets gotta flush.” Yesterday afternoon, both of mine stopped flushing…or to be more accurate…started flushing in the wrong direction, which simply would not do. I quickly surmised that this was a situation that was not going to be easily remedied by employing that high-tech tool known as a plumber’s helper, with which I’ve become somewhat proficient. This job needed a professional.

Derrick arrived about an hour later, and after giving him the details, he immediately asked for the whereabouts of the septic tank. “Oh no”, I thought, “this is serious.” I knew the general location, but we couldn’t find a drainpipe that would allow for easy access. We would have to go in. He went to his truck and returned with a long metal rod with a T-shaped handle. He began carefully inserting the probe, in an effort to determine the layout of the concrete tank buried about six inches beneath the grass. From previous experience…I can only guess…he blindly determined the location of the access lid, and after retrieving a shovel from his truck, began digging…with almost surgical precision. After a short while…as I curiously…and helplessly looked on…the lid was visible. It was about a foot-and-a-half square in size. It had a handle. The air was filled with excitement…like we were on an archaeological dig of some sort. I imagined that we were about to open some ancient tomb. As Derrick carefully lifted the lid with a crowbar, the air was immediately filled with something other than excitement…although the word shares a lot of the same consonants and vowels. A foul, malodorous stench arose. This had to be much worse than the curse of the mummy.

Derrick soon brought me back to reality by loudly exclaiming…with some self-satisfaction I might add, “Here’s the problem…you’re full, Jim!” Thankfully, he tactfully left off the words, “of it.” I looked heavenward, and thought, with some degree of exasperation, “OK…I get it! I get it!” The timing, on this day, was just too good to be coincidence. I could sense someone up above smiling…and admonishing me to lighten up.

Derrick was soon on the phone, consulting with a specialist. He informed me that a fellow named Chris would be along within a half-hour to finish the job, and then close up. The prognosis was good. Soon after presenting me with the bill for his services, Derrick left, leaving me to silently ponder the gaping wound in the front lawn. After a while, Chris arrived in a large truck with about a mile’s worth of large-diameter flexible hose wrapped around a huge tank. Because this was Saturday, he had his two young boys in tow to assist with the job. Strangely enough, they seemed rather excited, eagerly awaiting the final step of closing up the hole with the previously excavated dirt.

Then it began…the rather delicate…and carefully executed process of emptying the septic tank. It brought to mind the movie Spaceballs, and the words, “Commence Operation Vacu-Suck!” The pump onboard the truck came to life with a throbbing sound…the large hose started quivering as the contents of the septic tank were expertly transferred to the holding tank on the truck. At this point, I couldn’t look any longer…and went inside the house.

After about fifteen or so minutes, I heard a knock on the door. As I opened the door, one of the two boys politely requested…a paragon of Southern manners, “Sir, our dad asked that you please flush the commodes a few times.” This was a good sign, I thought to myself as I flushed, as the water quickly and silently flowed in the proper direction. The operation had been a success.

After Chris and the boys finished filling the hole, and tamping down the dirt the best they could, I thanked them all for their services. They all politely replied, “You’re welcome,” got into the truck, and drove off down the road in the direction of the setting sun. One never knows what each day will bring. Although my wallet is somewhat lighter due to this unexpected expense, today’s events have taken a…pardon the expression…considerable load off my mind.

Written by Jim

January 20, 2013 at 10:29 am

2 Responses

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  1. There’s nothing worse than facing a problem like that and knowing that the solution is rather uncertain. But then…some times things work out just fine. It’s not always the case, of course. Frequently things get a lot worse before they get better…if they do. For times like that it’s good to take courage thinking of times like these.
    …and look, not ONE pun in the reply. That took strength too… :>)

    Maurice A. Barry

    January 20, 2013 at 10:51 am

    • You’re a strong man Maurice :)


      January 20, 2013 at 6:12 pm

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